There’s a lot of warm history in quilting

Greene County Historical Society program Sept. 1

~by Chuck Offenburger for the Greene County Historical Society

The deep historical roots of quilting, as well as its mushrooming popularity today, will be the subject of the Greene County Historical Society program on Friday, Sept. 1, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Cedar Township, five miles west of Churdan.

Suzanne Sievers, owner of the Stitch quilt shop in Jefferson, will be presenting and is bringing along a special guest, Jeanette Harms of Panora, who will display some quilts dating to the 1800s in her family. Harms will tell how those quilts were found in her grandmother’s attic, as well as talking about quilters back then.

Sievers and Harms are calling the program “Quilting Then and Now.”

A lunch at 12 pm in the St. Patrick basement is $8 for Historical Society members and $10 for non-members. Members should RSVP to their community contacts by Wednesday, Aug. 30. Others can RSVP for lunch by calling vice-president Nancy Hanaman at 515-436-7684. The program at 1 pm in the church sanctuary is free.

“No one knows the origin of quilting,” Sievers says, “but quilted garments were found in Egypt in about 3400 B.C. We do know that quilting was brought to America by the colonists.”

She was a high school home economics teacher for 25 years – three years in Walnut and 22 at Jefferson-Scranton – before she got into the business of quilting.

“I’ve always loved quilts, but didn’t make one until I took a class from Marilyn Allender in the late 1970s,” Sievers continued. “Then I didn’t quilt again until the late 1990s – and haven’t stopped since!”

In 2006, she opened the Stitch in Jefferson – it’s now next door to the Greene County Historical Society – and it’s become one of the busiest quilt shops in central Iowa.
She met Jeanette Harms as a customer.

“Jeanette comes to my shop, and she was telling me about the quilts she inherited, and that she thought they should be shared somehow,” she said. “When I was asked to do this program for the Historical Society, I thought of her and asked her to join me.”

Sievers said her own presentation will address how quilting techniques and tools have changed. She’ll show some of her own quilts and demonstrate a couple of tools. “I also have some interesting facts about who today’s quilter is, the amount of money they spend each year on quilting, and how much a quilt costs to make today,” she said.

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